Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are trapped in a merged world, built by Krang with the power of the Anti-Monitor. They must work together to put an end to Krang’s plan and save both of their worlds before everything is destroyed. Man, I love comics. Where else are you going to get a story like this?
Family is proving to be a major theme in Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. This mash-up experience has had Bruce Wayne growing up with the Turtles as adopted siblings and Splinter watching over them all. When about this place is revealed, memories start to change and Batman starts to piece together what his life was like before. This isn’t as big of a shock for the Turtles since they’ve always been by each other’s side. Batman suddenly realizes he’s alone. Think about all of the trauma and heartbreak the Dark Knight has been through. Now imagine experiencing it all over again.
While the end result is a little predictable, it’s still incredibly powerful to see play out. Writer James Tynion IV steadily builds the anticipation throughout this issue, leading to an incredible ending, setting up a climactic showdown for the final issue worthy of the epic nature of this team-up.
Artist Freddie E. Williams II really drives home the huge size and scope of this crossover. The opening sequence alone is jaw-dropping with Batman, the Turtles, Shredder, the Joker, and the Foot Clan all fighting it out. I love how Williams II weaves glimpses of the past into the present. If this was a movie or TV show, it would be shown as a flash of light with the memory playing out in front of us. In this case, we get a shocking image of what’s coursing through Batman’s head, hanging like a dark specter in the sky above the character.
There’s a nice texture to each of the characters, emphasized by colorist Jeremy Colwell. For example, Krang is pink and disgusting, to the point where you can practically hear the slime sliding off his slick body. The Turtles are another great example of this, each with a unique shade of green.
Colwell also reinforces the epic nature of this team-up with some incredible bursts of energy. The light coming off of Krang’s machine and the Technodrome swirls from yellow to orange to red in this intimidating and deadly style. This is what the end of the world looks like.
This issue also features a further encounter between the present day Turtles and the originals, drawn by Kevin Eastman. I love the contrast between the two, showing how these characters have evolved and changed throughout the years. I was hoping we’d get to see more versions of the Turtles and Batman, coinciding with the multiple earths idea, but we just get the two versions each. I’m still pretty happy with this. Plus, letterer Tom Napolitano lets loose with a great “Cowabunga!!!” that absolutely made my day.
We’ve seen both worlds in danger separately throughout the Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers and now they’re in peril together. That’s how you up the ante for the third and final chapter. This is a monumental adventure with two pop culture icons working together seamlessly.